Omega 6 Fatty Acids Linked To Lower Mortality in Older Men, Study Shows

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19 Aug 2016 --- A study from the Uppsala University reveals that the fatty acid linoleic acid, Omega 6, could be linked to lower mortality among older men.

The study looked at adipose tissue biopsy specimens and blood samples from 853 men at the age of 71 years, with follow ups carried out for 15 years.

The participants were asked to fill in a food diary over a period of seven days, with results showing a clear correlation between the proportion of linoleic acid in adipose tissue and the food diaries.

The findings indicated that the proportion of polyunsaturated fatty acids in adipose tissue reflected the individual’s intake of these fatty acids over the long term, and this appeared to be particularly true of linoleic acid, the most common polyunsaturated fatty acid.

Researchers think that the findings may further indicate that an excessively low intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids increases the risk of premature death.

For the total mortality of 605 deaths, a correlation was seen with a higher proportion of linoleic acid in adipose tissue being associated with a ten per cent lower risk of death.

However, no clear correlation could be established between the rate of mortality from cardiovascular disease for any fatty acid. Although linoleic acid is known to reduce the content of bad cholesterol in the blood, researchers say that the study can’t determine if this is the explanation for the association with reduced mortality.

David Iggman, a physician and researcher at the Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism Unit at Uppsala University, said, “Even though the study cannot prove any causal connection, the findings nevertheless support current dietary advice to replace some hard fats in the diet – namely, those with a high proportion of saturated fatty acids – with softer fats, e.g. vegetable oils with a high proportion of unsaturated fatty acids.”

Speaking with NutritionInsight, Iggman explained that the associations with lower mortality strengthen advice to partly replace saturated with polyunsaturated fatty acids such as vegetable oils. He also added: "This study from Uppsala started in the 70s and included only men as its focus was on cardiovascular disease and at that time, middle-age men were at focus because of higher risk of CVD. There are few similar studies on adipose tissue fatty acids with long follow-up, to date and Scottish and one Danish syduy have also been published, but included fewer fatty acids."

"I hope more similar studies will be performed in women and younger people, as this provides important objective information on the complex relations between diet and disease (and longevity)," says Iggman.

by Hannah Gardiner

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